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Tony Allen: Waive, Work or Keep for Insurance?

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Tony has been rumored to be in every Celtic trade suggestion from Marquis Daniels to Sidney Wicks. At least in what has made print, Danny Ainge has offered Tony and Gabe Pruitt around the league like a waiter offers those last couple of hors d'oeuvres turned cold sitting on the plate in the middle of the party. ‘Care for one? They're really good.'

‘No thank you. I'll pass.'

Pruitt is gone. Tony is still here. Larry Bird was reported to not want Tony in a sign and trade for Daniels. Not because Tony can't play the game, but because of ‘off court distractions' that Bird has been working hard to distance his team from ever since he took over complete control of player personnel decisions from Donnie Walsh.

Many think the Tony Allen situation is already clear.

That's understandable. But there has been little direction from Celtic management on Tony Allen to this point. Many consider his off court issues to be the central problem from last season. It could be argued that the bigger issue was his health. He only played 46 games.

The year started with great promise. preseason report on October 11...

Update: Allen had 25 points in the Celtics' preseason win over the Cavs on Friday night.

Analysis: Allen may fill the sixth man role left by James Posey, especially if he can find his scoring touch.

Then this October 19 report from

Looking Strong in Preseason
Update: Allen had 32 points in three quarters during the Celtics' preseason game against New Jersey on Thursday, according to the Boston Herald.

Analysis: Allen seems like the current favorite for the sixth man role left by James Posey, and has shown an ability to score in bunches. His defensive issues, however, may end up reducing his playing time as the season continues.

November 23rd ....

Instant Offense off Bench
Update: Allen had 15 points and six rebounds in the Celtics' win over the Raptors on Sunday.

Analysis: Allen has now posted double-figure scoring in three straight games, and is averaging 20.6 points per 48 minutes.

December 2nd, the first shoe drops, rather, the ankle turns ...

Right Ankle Sprain
Update: Allen sprained his right ankle during Boston's victory over Orlando on Monday, the Boston Globe reports.

That was the start of the season long bugaboo to Tony's healthfulness. The whole string of setbacks (and dates) for the season are noted here. But to give you a taste:

The ankle continued to vex Tony all the way through January:

Re-injures ankle - Jan. 6
Could possibly play - Jan. 10
Out one more week - Jan. 13
Returns to practice, still recovering - Jan. 26

Then Tony played in just seven games before he got a severe thumb injury with ligament damage that required surgery on Feb 17.

Tony was out until April 3rd missing 23 straight games.

Allen came back to finish the season with 18 and 15 points on 13 of 25 shooting with 7 rebounds, 8 assists, and 4 steals in the final two regular season games.

Already out of the rotation and with recurring ankle problems, he played little in the post season.

On June 3rd, Tony...

Undergoes Ankle Surgery
Update: Allen had surgery on his right ankle and leg on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.

Analysis: The Celtics expect Allen to recover in time for training camp. Allen was hampered by his faulty ankle for most of last season, averaging 7.8 points in 34 games.

That brings us to today.

What to do about Tony Allen?

When healthy, he can still play some productive ball. But he is 27. He will be 28 in January. The Celtics have given Tony many opportunities. Primarily, it is injuries that have taken down Tony's career. He has missed 128 games in 5 years. Only twice has he played more than 51 games. At some point, it doesn't matter how good the reasons are. A change of scenery might be a good thing for everyone involved.

As of today, August 15th, through the end of the regular season, a player clears waivers after just 48 hours.

Should Tony Allen be waived? Or worked?

If he is not in the Celtics plans, waiving him helps Tony. He would be free to find a place where he can get a real opportunity to restart his career. For the Celtics, it would clear a valuable roster spot for a player that could be in training camp from the get-go. But that would mean a buy out that still counts against the cap and additional money spent on another player when the Cs are deep in luxury tax territory.

I'm normally not in favor of such moves or of contract buy outs. But in this case, the amount is relatively small - $2.5 million. Total cost with tax - $5 mil. Vet minimum replacement - another $2-2.5 million with tax. Total cost - $7.5 million.

But....the other problem is that there are few good free agent options at small forward, the position of choice, available at minimum dollars.

Ime Udoka might bite. Rodney Carney will want more money.

Other positions
How about a shooter likes Flip Murray, Juan Dixon, or Steve Novak. Keith Bogans, Desmond Mason and Rashad McCants are still out there. Perhaps an insurance center in Aaron Gray, a Collins brother or Jake Voskuhl? Are any of these options better than having Tony Allen available on your bench?

Neither Danny nor Doc has said that Tony won't play a role. If for no other reason than Marquis Daniels often averages about 60 games a season, Tony could be a valuable fill in for 20 games a year, assuming a similar 60 game season from Marquis.

That there has been a less than hoped for performance from Tony is acknowledged by all. Nagging injuries have played a central part in his being able to establish himself. When he is healthy, he can be a contributor.

I'm looking at this strictly from a Doc Rivers, Danny Ainge, and what-is-best-for-the-Celtics-and-Tony-Allen point of view.

At this point, Tony Allen's trade value is at a low point. With Marquis Daniels about to come aboard, and J.R. Giddens in house, what is Tony's role this coming season?

Right now the 15th roster spot is assumed to go to rookie Lester Hudson or another PG possibility. If Tony is no longer in the Celtics plans, the Celtics should waive Allen. Then they could bring another player. It helps both parties.

Do you think the Celtics should waive Tony, work him, or keep him for insurance?